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Susan Williamson – Gratitude

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Thanksgiving is over, but I find myself in a state of gratitude for both small and large mercies. Last summer I received a call from the Veterans Administration Insurance Department. The caller told me that my father had taken out a small veteran’s life insurance policy when I was a year old, naming me as beneficiary. Since I knew nothing about this, I did not contact them when my father died in 1986. But this faithful bureaucrat was trying to close the case. I do know that the funeral home did contact the VA because we received a veteran’s certificate or some such.

My family members were sure this was a scam. But, no one was asking for any money from me. The woman said she would send a letter outlining what I would need to do. I looked up the phone number for the department, not the number the woman gave me, and called. Sure enough a gentleman assured me that the claim was real.

I no longer had death certificates for my parents. I had to order them from an office in Pennsylvania. This process was neither quick nor cheap. Eventually I received them and sent them on.

I heard nothing. I called and was told that my father had taken a loan against the policy in the early seventies and so, they had to refigure the actual amount that I would receive. My hopes dropped. Each month I checked back, only to be told that one person had looked at the file that month, but no calculations were finalized and that I should keep checking.

By now, I did not expect to see any insurance money, but I was touched that my father had set up the policy for me, his first child.

The agency required me to give a bank account number for direct deposit. This seemed a little sketchy, but they explained that checks could be lost in the mail and in today’s world this was a better alternative. I gave them an account number for an account where we keep very little money, just in case. Then shortly after 2020 arrived, what to my wondering eyes did appear but a bank deposit from the Veterans Insurance Department. It was not a huge amount, but a great windfall to us.

On the day I saw the deposit, I couldn’t help but be thankful for all of the other blessings in my life—our family, my health, our home, my friends, my church family, my publishers who have allowed me to grow a writing career, a James River Stable in Prince George which allows me to teach riding lessons and the ability to daily enjoy these blessings. Happy 2020.

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